Tag Archives: human trafficking

Knowledge and the Response to Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is complex. The response to trafficking is even more complex. That is the reason I’m writing, The Essential Abolitionist: What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery.

I’ve been involved in the fight against human trafficking for almost a decade; first managing the San Jose Police Department’s Human Trafficking Task Force, and since 2011 as a consultant working with both governmental and private organizations to better understand, and respond, to human trafficking. It has been quite an experience; I’ve learned a lot through my involvement and worked with many wonderful and committed people. But I’ve also seen many efforts – even when backed with plenty of passion and money – struggle and fail due to lack of knowledge about  of the issue, the challenges of collaboration, or the intricacies of the multidisciplinary response. While there are several good books and resources helpful in learning about trafficking, no book currently exists that is based upon experience in the actual response to slavery. The Essential Abolitionist will fill this void.

The concept behind the book is rather simple. I put together a list of questions that I am consistently asked by people who are interested in trafficking, along with a list of the topics that I usually include in training programs or presentations. I view this information as essential to a foundational knowledge on the subject, and necessary to be as effective as possible in our efforts to assist victims, prosecute traffickers, and raise public awareness.

I then shared my list with several anti-trafficking colleagues, all of whom supported the concept behind the book, and many of whom have offered to contribute to the book. The Essential Abolitionist will not only educate those who desire a better understanding of human trafficking, but will be an asset for abolitionists in the future.

I’ve decided to self-publish the book for several reasons, but here are two: First, I can update information in the print and eBook more easily if needed, and; Two, I wanted as many people as possible to be involved in the project  – and not only by supporting it financially. Backers of The Essential Abolitionist will get to vote on the book cover, read early drafts, and support anti-trafficking efforts in their communities by sharing the book. Hopefully backers will feel they are not just giving support, but are actively involved in the response against trafficking.

Please visit the Kickstarter Project Page!

Then, do three things.
1 – Back the project.
2- Share the project with your friends and colleagues via email and social media – and ask them to support it. (Depending upon your social media platforms you may want to post more than once since not all of your contacts may see only one post. The campaign lasts only 30 days.)
3- Share this project with civic or faith communities, universities, or companies that want to support efforts fighting slavery. Everyone is opposed to slavery, and this is a great opportunity to get involved.

This project involves three of my greatest passions: leadership, collaboration, and the response to human trafficking. Thank you for your support!

(Motivated? Here are two additional things you can do. Follow me on Twitter (or just click the button on my home page), and “Like” The Essential Abolitionist Facebook page. Thanks!)

Leadership, Collaboration, Response to Human Trafficking

Leadership, Collaboration, Response to Human Trafficking. These are the topics I address on my blog, teach to others, and speak about in public. While they may appear to be three different subjects, they are closely intertwined. Together, they also create lessons that are applicable to the world around us; the response to human trafficking is also my laboratory for practicing leadership and collaboration.

Human trafficking (the exploitation of a person’s labor or services, or forced commercial sexual exploitation, through force, fraud or coercion) impacts an estimated 24 million victims worldwide. The International Labour Organization estimates global revenue from trafficking (really, modern slavery) is $150B every year. The dynamics that lead to, and foster, human trafficking are varied and complex. But the dynamics involved in the response to trafficking are even more complex! Whenever a discussion focuses on how individuals and institutions respond to trafficking, the conversation inevitably shifts to topics of leadership and collaboration.

The “4 P Paradigm” is a model of response to human trafficking created and promoted by the federal government; Prevention, Protection (of victims), Prosecution, Partnership. The first three legs fail without Partnership, or collaboration. Sectors involved in the response to trafficking include: victim services providers; local police or sheriffs; federal law enforcement, including FBI and ICE/HSI; local and federal prosecutors; private organizations; community groups; and others. If an effective response is to occur, these sectors have to be able to work together to maximize their own effectiveness. An axiom in the response to trafficking is that no single agency (or sector) can address the problem of human trafficking alone. At a minimum, each sector must recognize that others sectors exist, and that each sector has it’s own mission and goals. Collaboration includes assisting others in achieving their goals. Collaborating in this sense is a learned skill; it requires traits and skills that many of us do not learn naturally and most have not been taught in any formal setting.

Leadership comes into play when discussing how collaborative groups are formed, how decisions are made, and who “leads” the group. This can be especially challenging in a group comprised of different professional cultures, varying levels of knowledge and experience regarding human trafficking, and institutional goals. There have been a lot of failures in the response to trafficking, and when examined closely these failures can usually be traced to issues of leadership and collaboration, not the passion to fight modern slavery.

Lessons of leadership and collaboration experienced in one environment can often be translated into other environments. While I write about the interplay of leadership and collaboration with the response to human trafficking, I also examine leadership and collaboration as they apply to other settings. Being involved in the response to trafficking allows me not only to work in developing effective responses to trafficking, it offers me the environment to practice collaboration and leadership, just as various positions during my career with the San Jose Police Department offered me opportunities to enhance my supervision and leadership skills. Every leader need a laboratory, if you will, in which to practice and develop their leadership skills; true leaders never stop developing their leadership skills.

The topics of leadership, collaboration, and the response to human trafficking are closely connected. Success against modern slavery require leadership and collaboration. At the same time, the development of leadership and collaboration trait and skills can be enhanced in any environment and for any purpose.

As you can see, the words at the top of my homepage are very closely related. Please subscribe to my blog – and share it with others – if you have interest in any of these topics.

Are You Involved in the Fight Against Trafficking? Then You Need This!

If you (or your organization) is actively opposing human trafficking in your community this resource is for you! The Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide. The guide is newly updated and expanded, and is the only guide on task force operations available to the general public. While the guide uses the term “task force,” it is designed to assist any multidisciplinary-team approach to the prevention, investigation or prosecution of human trafficking, or to providing protection and services to victims of trafficking. Regardless of the term used for your organization (coalition, task force, collaborative, etc.), this e-guide will increase the efficiency and knowledge of your members, and your team as a whole.

The e-Guide offers guidelines to collaborative practices, along with more detailed information valuable to victim services providers, law enforcement investigators, and prosecutors. It also contains information on conducting public awareness campaigns, case studies, and a host of additional resources.

The complexities in responding to slavery can only be navigated with a multidisciplinary, victim-centered approach. Yet the work involved with engaging other professional sectors, creating a leadership system within the task force, and working together can be more difficult than the daily work of assisting victims, investigating incidents, or prosecuting traffickers. Much of my consulting work focuses on how individuals and agencies can improved their collaborative work. This e-guide fills a void, and should be studied by everyone involved in the response to trafficking.

Lastly, I was honored to be part of the consultant team on this project. It was a pleasure working with Amy, Jean, and Jack, along with the team at OVC/TTAC. Our hope is that this e-guide will help your organization in your efforts against human trafficking.

Leadership, and the Fight Against Human Trafficking

A key leadership trait is the ability to adapt to change. This ability is vital not only for executive leadership, but also for anyone involved in program management.

For example, over the past several years the number of federally-funded anti-human trafficking task forces has decreased, and this has created both challenges and opportunities for law enforcement agencies in their response to modern slavery. But how to respond to these changes is not the responsibility of the executive staff alone. In fact, adapting any program to new challenges is most likely the responsibility of the program manager. This is an excellent example of how leadership is practiced at all levels of an organization and, more importantly, how the leadership skills of managers impact an entire organization.

This is an article I wrote for The Police Chief magazine, and it examines how local law enforcement agencies have adapted to several changes in the anti-trafficking environment; not only the shift of responsibility from larger, federally-funded task forces to smaller, more localized, responses, but also as our understanding of the dynamics of trafficking has changed over the past several years.

The article can be beneficial for those involved in the fight against human trafficking, and also for any leader seeking examples of how leaders and agencies can adapt to changing circumstances.

Please let me know your thoughts on the article!